Greg McNeil of Bios Design Build Sustain won Residential Design – New Houses: $300K-$500K construction cost in the BDAV’s 2017 Building Design Awards for his Joan7.3 project in Brunswick East. The project also received a commendation from BDAV for Residential Small Lot Design. In the NABD 2017 Design Awards, the project won Best Small Lot Design, Best New Residential Design up to $500K construction cost, and Best Small Dwelling Design up to 150sqm.
Demonstrating an efficient spatial arrangement, Joan 7.3 stands out as a nicely restrained and contextually appropriate design. The considered structural detailing, integrated passive and active design features and innovative design concepts delivered a nicely balanced and inviting home. “This home shows that you can have a modern contemporary home that demonstrates high-level sustainable outcomes on a tight budget. Joan 7.3 exemplifies that you don’t need substantial land or budget to create a beautiful sustainable home,” said the BDAV Judges.
The story of Joan 7.3 begins with clients who ‘wanted to push the boundaries’ to achieve a sophisticated, sustainable and enduring home. “Our ethos is to approach any project with the environment and sustainability in mind. We believe every room should have an outlook and design to ensure we capture the external vista. In this house, for example, wherever you turn, you can see the sky or greenery in the garden or courtyard,” explained Greg McNeil.
Experiencing the ‘outside from inside’ is fundamental to the ambience and healthy environment of this residence on a tight block, and to its 7.3 star energy rating. But it took ‘unconventional strategies’ and clever use of materials and technologies to achieve it.
The project site is a narrow (7.8 metre wide) north-facing block on a quiet residential street in an established inner-city Melbourne suburb. At 189 square metres, the project site is small. Yet the client wanted ample floor space, so “a first floor was critical,” says Greg.
His approach was to situate the upper level at the front of the house. This avoided any privacy and shadowing issues while creating more space. Initially, the council resisted this unorthodox approach, voicing ‘streetscape concerns’, but eventually it accepted that the well-designed home would actually enhance the streetscape.
The next challenge was to capture as much sun and light as possible into the long narrow building. “We took advantage of the western orientation to maximise solar gain”, said Greg. “The west-facing central courtyard is a great sun trap in the winter and is protected in summer by an operable canvas shade awning. Other energy-saving features include: a Ventis Subflow system that harvests heat from the roof space and transfers it to the polished concrete Cupolex floor in the cooler months; a 90% efficient heat recovery ventilation system; and well-considered placement of windows, doors and ventilation louvers.
The house nestles harmoniously into its highly considered garden setting and streetscape. The architecture is a dark, homogenous composition of precise folding articulated planes of Hardie’s Stria cladding, contrasted with rough-sawn dark timber accents of the pergola’s post and beam.
Inventive spatial design places the staircase in the middle of the home, making the stairwell the ‘hero’ of the home. It not only serves as the transition to the upper level, but is cleverly crafted to provide concealed storage, a thermal chimney for summer, and an elegant dining table that floats out from one of the timber stair treads, creating comfortable seating for ten. The central stair, living area, and courtyard configuration make for an open, light-filled, spacious, inner-city oasis.
Designer: Bios, www.biosdbs.com.au
Builder: Tucker Construction
Photography: Meagan Harding Photography